How much is Google to blame for newspapers’ woes?
The Web is abuzz over Eric Schmidt’s speech on Tuesday at the Newspaper Association of America’s annual meeting in San Diego — a speech, as the New York Times points out, in which the Google leader sidestepped any controversy and instead delivered “a lengthy discourse on the importance of newspapers and the challenges and opportunities brought about by technologies like mobile phones.”
So why all the fuss? Because newspapers are in deep trouble, and Google is an easy target for blame. The web search leader is weathering the recession relatively well and some have argued that Google News is making money off the back of newspaper publishers.
As Reuters puts it, “Some journalists have complained that search engines run by Google and Yahoo Inc make millions of dollars off their news, and that it should belong to them instead.”
Publishers from The New York Times Co to EW Scripps Co are struggling with a decline in advertising revenue that threatens the survival of some of their newspapers.
They are trying to find ways to make more money online to make up for what they are losing on their print editions.”
Google contends that it helps newspapers make more of that money by referring readers back to their websites. Newspapers, for their part, simply haven’t changed their business models to keep pace with the web.
“Schmidt told the Newspaper Association that newspaper websites someday would need to use several business models, including ads that support free news delivery, subscriptions and micro-payments, which are small fees to read articles,” Reuters reported.
The message is pretty clear: Start thinking about your own business instead of worrying about mine.
Keep an eye on:
- Cutbacks and budget troubles at National Public Radio Inc. are adding to tensions with some of its member stations (WSJ.com)
- In his new role, Peter Rice, recently appointed head of Fox Broadcasting, is faced with trying to remove some of the burden for the network’s ratings from “American Idol.” (New York Times)
- With magazines losing advertisers, the lines between advertising and editorial content are blurring (New York Times)